22 January 2013

South Africa: More Floods Expected in Limpopo

Pretoria — The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) has warned that more flooding is expected in the Pontdrift area of Limpopo.

Natjoints has urged residents in the area to move to higher ground and avoid low-lying areas, rivers, bridges and streams.

Heavy and persistent rainfall has been experienced in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West provinces, which has resulted in many rivers breaking their banks.

Numerous people have been left destitute, with severe infrastructure damage and fatalities being reported in some of the affected provinces.

Security forces and emergency services have been deployed in the affected areas to evacuate and rescue people.

Four Oryx helicopters from the South Africa Air Force and two from the South African Police Service are undertaking rescue and evacuation missions in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

So far, people have been airlifted to safety and many more are still waiting to be rescued.

The following border posts have also been closed due to the floods: Pafuri, Pontdrif, Platjan and Zanzibar.

The National Disaster Management Centre has also warned members of the public to observe the following:

* Avoid crossing low lying bridges, streams and rivers;

* Motorist must be very careful and avoid driving on flooded areas;

* People living in low-lying areas or flood plains should monitor the rising water levels and evacuate the areas as and when needed;

* The public should monitor weather alerts through radio and TV, and they should contact their municipal disaster management centres or their nearest police station when faced with danger.

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